Those words of urgency arrived by email from a nearby nursery, the culmination of this headline: "Fungus on your
plants’ leaves is much easier to prevent than cure, so spray
now!" And then came their prescription for "prevention":
Bayer Advanced™ All-In-One Rose and Flower Care
Bonide® Infuse Systemic Disease Control
Bonide® Fung-Onil Multi Purpose Fungicide
pests are in full effect now as they hatch from their eggs and emerge from cocoons. Spray for bagworms on evergreens, lacebugs on azaleas, and
rosebugs, thrips and aphids on roses.
For insects, try:
Bonide® or Ortho®
Systemic Insect Control
Bonide® Eight™ Insect Control
Bayer Advanced™ Rose
and Flower Insect Killer
Well, all this talk of killing and controlling got my attention because it came from a source that’s respected in these parts and I’m even a big fan of their customer education guy, Gene Sumi. So it was time to do some surfing.
Bayer Advanced’s website wasn’t much help. I learned that the product is "3 systemics in one" that controls insects and disease and "feeds and renews," whatever that means. No hint of what the ingredients might be (though if you can find them, let me know). But one hugely favorable feature is that it requires no spraying, thanks to its systemic route of application, and I warmed considerably to the product on that note. That’s how odious the job of spraying is; in my garden it just doesn’t happen, and not because I’m trying to be saintly. With systemics you just mix some in a watering can and pour.
The site helpfully lists lots of menacing-sounding insects that are done in by the product and I can’t help wondering: What else do they kill? Or even: Might these insects play a vital role in the whole web-of-life thing, both for our gardens or for the wider "garden" around us? Those euphemisms for killing and overfeeding like "protect and feed," "care," "control" sure remind me of the verbiage it’s been my job to sit through in congressional hearing rooms these last decades – assuring while ultimately bullshitting the listener.
Now if you Google "Bonide", the maker of over 300 products in the kill-and-overfeed business, the first site that pops up is Bonideproducts.com, which is funny as hell because it’s the site for communicating with – make that pumping up – their sales force. So you see suggested points to make, and my reactions thereto:
- "Fleas have killed more people than all the wars ever fought." HUH?
- "Without pesticides world food prodduction would drop by as much as one-third." I love those "as much as" statistics, don’t you?
- "Without pesticides, consumer spending on gardening would drop by as much as 40 percent." There it is again! And what point are they making here, exactly?
Now let’s go to their site for consumers, Bonide.com. I take a peek in their "Problemsolver" section and find, not surprisingly, that every condition is caused by some outside menace – an insect or a disease – that needs to be eradicated by one of their products. Thus, the solution for mold on roses isn’t choosing disease-resistant varieties or siting and pruning for good air circulation. And in the long list of plant "problems" I’m surprised – but shouldn’t be – to find my old friend sedum. So what on earth could go wrong with sedum? "Ragged holes on leaves." Gawd no! But we’re in luck because this scourge, caused by snails and slugs, can be wiped out by Bonide’s Slug and Snail Killer. And so it goes. Their list of "problems" and "solutions" in the growing of food looks altogether too scary to actually read, so I’ll leave that to readers with stronger constitutions.
Naturally all this brings to mind standard American medical practice for humans, propelled as it is by unfettered free market forces to sell products and procedures, not teach healthy living.
THE KNEE THAT JERKS
Okay, I’ve referred to the pesticide industry here as "kill-and-overfeed," so you see my bias. Like so many in the environmentalist camp writ large, my knee jerks against any industry, and chemical industries are a particularly easy mark. But you know, the most reliable kneejerkers among my friends lumped Gore and Bush together as equally loathesome and supported Nader in 2000, and we all know how well that turned out.
So I’ve determined to keep an open mind and admit that I just don’t know enough to condemn every one of their products. After all, innocent until proven guilty works pretty well with people, right? So in future posts you’ll learn what a regular, non-techy potential customer like myself can find out about pesticide products from any source – government, nonprofit, and industry. Believe me, good information don’t come easy.